FAQ: Adopting During Covid-19

The Adoption Process


Q: What do I need to be eligible to adopt?

A: To adopt, you must fulfill the following requirements: 

  • Be 18+ years old
  • Provide government-issued photo ID
  • Provide proof of address
  • You cannot have been exposed to Covid-19 within the last 14 days, or be currently positive for Covid-19
  • People over the age of 65, those with underlying health conditions, or those who are particularly susceptible to COVID-19 should strongly consider delaying an adoption appointment in person at our shelter. We can provide you with all the adoption information and someone else can attend the appointment on your behalf.” 
  • In addition, we may also ask for proof of landlord approval/proof of home ownership.

Q: What is the current process for adoptions?

A: At this time, adoptions are available by appointment only.  

  • STEP 1: When you inquire about an animal, your information will be captured on our tracking system, along with the date and time you applied.  
  • STEP 2: If you have not done so previously, you must fill out the adopter profile form. You only need to do this once for each species you’re interested in. The returned profile form lets us know that you definitely wish to proceed and you will be contacted in the order in which you applied.  
  • STEP 3: Be alert for a phone call from us, which may be from a number you don’t recognize. We are operating on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please be aware that while we contact potential adopters on this basis, if we are unable to reach you, we will continue reaching out to other clients. During the call, we will provide you with information about the animal and discuss your requirements and situation. If both parties wish to proceed, an appointment will be made and we will send instructions on the adoption process.

Appointments typically take place on the same day or day after clients are contacted. If you need an appointment at a later date, please be aware that it is possible another client will attend sooner and may adopt the animal, prior to your allocated time slot.  

Q: Why is the process different for kittens?

A: Every year, we have “kitten season.” Kittens are more abundant at this time, and generally speaking, are pretty similar in personality at this stage of their life.  
Our hope is to unite kittens with as many people as possible while maintaining the safety of our clients and our team.  As the number of individuals we can accommodate at our facility is limited, our process for kitten adoptions is as follows: 

  • You will receive counsel on what life with a kitten looks like.  
  • An adoptions counselor will work with you to select which kitten(s) you are interested in and will provide you with medical and temperament information. 
  • If you wish to proceed with adopting, we will allocate a pick-up time, which must be same day or next day.  
  • A representative will call you prior to your pick-up to confirm your appointment and check if you need any additional supplies, such as a litter pan kit or noodle toy. 
  • Payment will be taken over the phone, paperwork will be emailed to you, and when you arrive for your pick-up, we will maintain social distancing while handing over the kitten(s).

Q: What are the adoption fees?

A: Our fees are listed on our website under this link: https://www.sfspca.org/adoptions/how-to-adopt/

Q: What safety precautions and social-distancing protocols are in place?

A: In addition to ongoing sanitation of our campus, we also adhere to the following: 

    • Animal information provided remotely and ahead of appointment
    • Six feet of social distancing at all times
    • Appointment-only adoptions and pick-ups
    • Limited people within building at any time
    • Masks/facial coverings required
    • Paperwork conducted electronically
    • Dog appointments conducted outside when possible

Q: Are you open to the public?

A: Right now, we are only open by appointment. 

Q: How do I know where I am on the list?

A: We are unable to provide this information at this time. The demand for animals is extremely high right now, and for almost all animals we have multiple people inquire. It is possible that you may be a ways down on the list and still contacted quickly.  

Q: How long does it take to be contacted?

A: All of the animals on the website are currently available, and we aim to start contacting clients for appointments as soon as animals are posted. It is difficult to provide a time frame for the following reasons: 

  • The animal may still show on the website even if an adoption appointment has been scheduled. If this is a same/next-day appointment, we will wait to see what the outcome is before moving to the next person.
  • It depends where you are on the list.

Q: How do I know if the animal is still available?

A: Our website is live, which means that as animals become available, they show on the website, and as they get adopted, they will disappear from the website. 

Q: How long are the adoption appointments?

A: Cat appointments are scheduled for 1 hour. Dog appointments are scheduled for 1.5 hours.

Q: Why can’t I bring my entire household to the appointment?

A: Due to social distancing and CDC guidelines, we are limited with how many individuals are able to attend the appointment. 

Q: Can I meet more than one animal?

A: Because adoptions are by appointment only right now, we are unable to accommodate multiple meetings, so you will be allocated a meeting with one animal. If you wish to meet a different animal, you would be required to go through the process and make a separate appointment.  

Q: Do I have to take the animal home that day?

A: We do not take holds on animals, so while there is no pressure for you to adopt that day, if you leave to think about it, we will continue to book appointments for other clients with that animal. 

Q: I’ve seen another animal on your rehoming site. Can I be considered for this animal too?

A: The pets listed on the rehoming site at sfspca.org/rehoming are owned by members of our community. They are not housed at the SF SPCA and all arrangements to meet with these animals must be made directly with their guardians. Please note that the SF SPCA accepts no responsibility for the pets posted to this page. Potential adopters are responsible for communicating with the pet’s guardian to acquire veterinary records and other necessary information and supplies. 


Q: How can I become a foster parent?

A: We are currently relying on help from volunteers who have already completed our training. We appreciate your support and look forward to bringing on new foster families as details of the pandemic become clearer. If you are interested in getting involved in the future, review the information at sfspca.org/foster and fill out our foster interest form. 

Q: I see an animal in the Foster program who I would like to foster. Can I apply to foster?

A: Thanks to the generosity of our volunteers, the animals on the website under the Foster program are currently being cared for by one of our regular SF SPCA foster families. Right now, these animals are only available for adoption. 

Q: I’ve changed my mind about adopting. How do I get taken off your list?

A: You can opt out at any time. The email you received confirming your interest has an opt-out link. By clicking it and following the brief instructions, you will be able to cancel your application. Please note that if you applied for several animals, it will cancel the whole application. 

Q: I applied previously for some animals, however I’ve seen another animal appear on your website that I am interested in. Do I have to fill out the form again?

A: You will need to fill out the first form and select the animal from the drop-down box.  Provided you keep your first name, last name, and email the same, our system will find your information and attach your dog or cat profile automatically, meaning you do not need to resubmit this again.

Ready To Adopt?